Foreword to the following article on "Morbid Society"
by Birgit B. Eichberger

In the Bible we are reading so many prophecies concerning our times. I think it is sad that so often, it has already come to what Paul predicted in his 2nd letter to Timothy, chapter 3:1-5:  

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

This may sound a little exaggerated, but do have a look around in this world! Be it family disintergration, arbitrariness of whatever authority, isolation, impoverishment, all-dominant market-economy, ellbow mentality, exaggerated self-realization - people are becoming numbers, are being disrooted, only total revenue counts. More and more people collapse under this weight. Children are being put into childcare at daytime (often without necessity) or get the house key around the neck, instead of getting the necessary love and security of their families which is ever so important in every phase of their upgrowing. They should get this everytime they need it and not just when at night their folks get home totally exhausted.

What all of this plus unhealthy religion and faith practices may cause - these are the results of this International Congress of the Academy of Psychotherapy and Counseling are about:

Modern Society Doesn't Do Good To The Soul
Escerpts from German Evangelical News Agency idea
translated and edited by Birgit B. Eichberger

M a r b u r g / G e r m a n y (idea) - In modern society, mental-health problems tend to result in increase. In Germany, they show an increase of 70%. German Retirement Insurances ascribe every third case of occupation disability to mental-health reasons.

Depression has developed into a globally widespread desease. World Health Organization WHO emanates from depressions reaching the 2nd place in statistics as reason for disablilities by the year 2020, said Marburg psychiastrist and psychotherapist Thomas Wübbena to journalists at the International Congress of Psychiatry and Counseling, which took place between May 24 and 28 in Marburg/Germany (photo). At this symposium with the subject of "One-Person-Operation or Relationship Ltd.?", around 850 psychiatrists, psychotherapists, theologists and counselors dealt with the consequences of individualization. This congress was organized by German Academy for Psychotherapy and Counseling ("Akademie für Psychotherapie und Seelsorge, APS).

When kids withdraw infront of tv-sets
As stated by Martin Grabe, APS president and chief physician of psychotherapy at the Clinic "Hohe Mark" (in Oberursel close to Frankfurt/Germany), an individualized society offers adverse conditions in order to stay healthy. Interpersonal relationships are required for this. Singling and seperation already begins by every child getting a personal tv-set and computer in her/his own room, where she/he can withdraw to. Earliest at Kindergarten, only children that are materially over-cared for, are having experiences concerning life together. This could be too late. Even an adult life can be unhealthy, when switching between office computers at work hours and home computers in leisure time.

Faith can cause health or sickness
As to Grabe, faith can boost the health of both body and soul. For example, researches have proved clinical stays to be shorter for faithful patients after suffering a heart attack. Faith can also have positive effects on depressions and other mental illnesses. However, there are also cases where faith can cause a person to become sick. This is mainly connected with the image of God that the patient has. A positive devotion toward God being based on an inner conviction could be constitutional and could even result in higher life expectancy, said Wübbena. In contrast, the image of a punishing God can have a negative impact on health. External religious pressures and faith practices that are determined by fears can have harmful consequences in a person.

Where psychotherapy and counseling differ
There are several intersections between the different tasks of psychotherapists and counselors - the first ones deal with psychic illnesses and the latter ones with inquiries for meaning. As to Grabe, the congress offered a platform for an exchange of experiences and opinions. Often, counselors experience consulters needing psychiatric help, while in other issues, repentence and confession could be of help.

Christian Churches work as correctives
As to Wübbena, the fellowship in Christian churches with their "We-Feeling" can be a contrast to the increasing individualization. It is eye catching to see mentally sick people in churches relatively often. Some time ago, faith was concluded to cause sickness. Yet, one could also draw the conclusion for Christian churches to build a corrective regarding non-functioning relationships in families and partnerships. Among all participants of the congress, there were 40 Swiss, 12 Austrians, as well as smaller groups from Holland, Lituania, Belarus, Southafrica, Paraguay and Brasil. Approxmately a quarter of each participants were physicians, theologists, psychologists and counselors.


The Christian Counter